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NYC Neighborhoods, 24 Frames per Second

Lower East Side Heritage Film Series, Season 2, Part 8: Young Filmmakers and the Seward Park Neighborhood


Don't Shhhh me!.... NOT this time.

We are about to conclude the second season of our Lower East Side Heritage Film Series and for the closer we are ALL TALK.

Along with our now traditional send off (we can call it traditional after the second repetition, right?), the film that started this whole LESHFS, The Seward Park Branch and the Neighborhood It Serves will be projected in all its 16mm glory. I will be orating the original 1959 script, written by former NYPL employee Donald Fowle, fresh off the heels of a recent performance for the Urban Memory Project — this reading will be the best yet. And if you have not seen this film, it is a MUST for anyone who has lived in or around the Seward Park area. Or for anybody who simply loves seeing the old LES... in moving picture form!

The Seward Park film will be followed by a selection of shorts from our vast Young Filmmakers Foundation Collection. Three titles were chosen that not only represent what this collection has to offer, but also which include some choice location footage of downtown Manhattan. To make this evening even more exciting, YFF organizer Rodger Larson and one of our featured filmmakers Michael Jacobsohn have agreed to come to the event and share with us some of their experiences with the famed Film Club. Also joining us will be Alexandra Kelly who has helped build an amazing Youth Media Map based around this YFF collection. The interactive map layers history, media and film details to specific urban locations upon a topographic screenscape that helps flesh out this incredible story.

We are pleased to offer the following films on Tuesday evening, June 5, 2012, at 6:30 p.m.

Eighth and final part in the series:

The Seward Park Branch and the Neighborhood It Serves
(1934-35, 1941, 1959; 25 min., 16mm)
The Seward Park Branch and the Neighborhood It Serves highlights the central role of the New York Public Library within a diverse, vibrant, and ever-changing community. View and experience Seward Park as the portrait of the neighborhood changes from crisp black and white to vivid color, as streets once filled with pushcarts become lined with sharp-finned cars, and as children sled on snowy sidewalks before sitting down for "story time" in a green park.

The earliest footage, from 1934–5 and 1941, was captured and edited by Grace Hardie, a former Seward Park Branch staff member. In 1959, Bill Sloan, head of the Donnell Library Center’s Film Library, and his wife Gwen shot the color section using a 16mm Bolex. At this time, Donald W. Fowle, a clerk at the Seward Park Branch, created the script as part of the branch’s 50th anniversary celebration. His narration has been read aloud at screenings of the film ever since. Mr. Fowle and the Sloans were assisted by Jean E. McIntosh, assistant branch librarian at Seward Park. A detailed account of the action — a shot list was prepared by Tara D. Kelley of the Reserve Film and Video Collection in 2012.

Young Filmmakers Foundation films:

Established in 1968, the Young Filmmakers Foundation was created to encourage filmmaking as an artistic, educational, and vocational experience for young people and to make the tools and skills of the media arts available to those who might otherwise not have access to them. The organization was founded by educators Rodger Larson and Lynne Hofer in collaboration with filmmaker Jaime Barrios.

Young Braves - (1968, 9 min., 16mm) by Michael Jacobsohn
Life in New York - (1969, 6 min., 16mm) by Alfonso Pagan, Luis Vale
Don't Mess with Us
- (c.1968, 5 min.,16mm) by Alejandro Lopez

The Seward Park Branch and the Neighborhood It Serves and Young Filmmakers Foundation films courtesy of the Reserve Film and Video Collection of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.

The Seward Park Branch and the Neighborhood It Serves has been preserved by the Reserve Film and Video Collection of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, with funding from the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

This is a FREE monthly series held at Seward Park Library. Documentary and feature films (both 16mm and DVD) shot on location in lower Manhattan are presented the first Tuesday of every month.

Previously: Lower East Side Heritage Film Series, Season 2, Part 7.
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What a treasure-trove of

What a treasure-trove of information you have resurrected about the LES. This is great work. Congratulations!

Great Work

I really appreciate how you are providing the branch at Seward Park access to its history through photographs, documents, and archival footage. It's cool to see how the branch libraries serve as portals to the history of New York City neighborhoods.

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